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KRBC Big Country News
By Ariana Lubelli | firstname.lastname@example.org
Published 10/07 2014 06:21PM
After two hours of deliberation, the jury finds Michael Lowery guilty for the murder of Amber Lowery.
He has been sentenced to life in prison.
Trial Day 6
A full courtroom Tuesday morning hears closing arguments from both the State and defense.
The defense claims Lowery would not have time to commit the crime. They say that “the pieces don’t fit” for Michael to have murdered Amber.
The State closes its case resting with their final arguments telling the jury they don’t have to decide how Amber was killed, only that Michael killed her.
The prosecution also reminds the jury that Michael told a witness, who took the stand, that he wants to kill his wife and bury her where no one would find her.
Closing arguments are concluded and the jury has left to deliberate.
Trial Day 5
The State rests after calling two witnesses to the stand Monday morning. The first witness to take the stand is a forensics analyst who specializes in DNA. She tells us about the samples from the Lowery home.
The second witness is another forensics analyst who specializes in bones. After the testimony from the bone specialist, the State rests its case.
The defense’s opening statement is that they will have Michael Lowery testify.
They begin by asking him about his time in the army. The defense shows officer evaluation reports about Michael when he was in the army. Michael is asked to read them to the jury. The officer reports talk about Michael’s time in Iraq. His evaluations are positive and reveal high professionalism.
Lowery claims he has been able to control his emotions through this trial because of his military training.
Continuing in his testimony, Lowery says his relationship with Amber was a roller coaster. He explained to the court that Amber’s postpartum depression concerned him when he was away.
Lowery says he and Amber both took anger management courses. Those courses led to Amber dropping her file for divorce in 2009.
Lowery also talks about when he broke Amber’s nose in Missouri. He claims it was a reflex reaction. He says it was the worst time in his life.
After continuous questions about his relations, Michael says he did not have good relationships with his older brother. He also revealed his younger brother committed suicide while Lowery was in jail this year.
Michael said he never wanted a divorce. He tells the court it was a stressful relationship, but there were good times at home and family trips with the boys.
Most people on the jury are just looking down and listening. Many jurors are not looking at Michael Lowery at all.
To the court, Michael says that the State is trying to manipulate him in cross examination. He has a grin on his face, the first time he shows any emotion.
The defense is back up. Michael Lowery is going through questions that the State asked him.
Michael is still claiming he did not put Amber’s remains in the burn pile. He says someone must have sneaked onto his property.
The defense rests its case.
Closing arguments will be heard Tuesday morning. The jury will start their deliberation afterwards.
Trial Day 4
The State calls Gary Pittman, the owner of the ranch the Lowery’s lived on. Pittman is a publisher who lives in Austin. He’s owned the North Star Ranch for about 15 years.
Pittman let the Lowery family stay in the house in exchange for working on the ranch. Michael called him to let him know about the work he had done on the ranch before Michael went back to the Gulf for two weeks. (Michael flew a helicopter on the coast for two weeks then he would go home for two weeks.)
Pittman learned a few days later thy Amber was missing when authorities called him and told him that his ranch was locked down. Pittman was also contacted by Amber’s family to get her possessions off the ranch property. He gave them the combination to the gate.
The state also called Dr. Harold Gilkey from the University of North Texas. Amber’s remains were sent to UNT to see if the bones that were found in the burn pile were indeed hers.
Dr. Gilkey revealed grueling evidence, saying that fracture spikes on the bones revealed that a saw was used to dismantle and discard these human remains. He also said that burn patterns on the bones revealed that they were burnt in fresh condition.
Trial Day 3
Mike Parker, another Texas Ranger, was called to the stand. Parker is the investigator that interviewed Michael Lowery at the Brown County SO.
The prosecution had the court listen to portions of a 3 hour long interview between Michael and Texas Rangers. Parts of the recording were redacted because the defense did not want the jury to hear some details of the interview. The jury was removed for a portion of the interview. The omitted part of the recording was where Michael talks about going to jail in the past and a past protective order issued against Michael.
The interview continued as investigators were asking him what Amber was wearing when she went missing. Michael told them that Amber was wearing blue jean shorts and tan tank top, long hair in a pony tail and no jewelry.
On the night Amber went missing, Michael says he was getting ready to go to work at the Gulf and he left their property at about 3:00 pm. He says he started getting angry text messages from Amber, so when he was about half way to his destination, he turned around and went back to the ranch.
Michael tells investigators that his wife was depressed and had postpartum depression. He also stated that she threatened to kill herself in the past. He said that because of her depression, Michael became worried after receiving text messages on his drive. He claims that is the reason he turned around and returned to the ranch. In the recording, Michael also states that Amber was on anti-depressants.
Michael continues laying down a timeline of events, saying he got to the house at about 9:30 pm the night Amber went missing. He says that he went in the house to check on his kids and she sped off, spinning her tires. According to Michael, this was not unusual for her to leave, but she never came home.
The next day Sheriff’s dept shows up for a check well fair call. Amber’s brother had called authorities, concerned that something happened to his sister.
Michael tells investigators that the following day he saw the DPS helicopter flying his over property.
He says he is continuing to call her but her phone goes to voice mail. Even their son left messages for his mom in hopes that will bring her back.
He claims when Amber left, he did not stop her because he has learned from his mistakes and was not going to allow himself to become physical with her.
Parker asked Michael point blank, “Did you do anything to her?” Micheal replies, “No I swear on my life.” Parker asked,”Do you know anybody who would want to do harm to her?” Michael said no. Parker backfired asking, “You haven’t killed her?” Again, Michael said no. The interview is over and Michael was arrested.
In court, Mike Parker began answering questions from stand again. He tells the court that there was no chance this case was a suicide.
Trial Day 2
The State called Linda Bedo of Rising Star to the stand. This is the woman who picked up Michael Lowery when he was walking from the abandoned laundry mat in Rising Star, after he allegedly drop off Amber’s vehicle there. He was walking with a baby in car seat.
It was in the morning when Bedo saw Michael on HW 36. She was on her way to her mother’s house. She also saw Amber’s car at the laundry mat. She continued to her mom’s house east on HW 36 after she saw Michael walking in the weeds on the side of the road.
She went to her moms and headed back to Rising Star and saw Michael again, this time walking on 36 with a baby. She picked him up this time. It was hot outside and she was concerned for the baby, so she offered them a ride. Michael had the baby in the car seat and a diaper bag. Bedo said he seemed flustered and looked hot. He did not talk much in their ride.
She drove him to the gate of his ranch, 6 miles east from Rising Star. She thought it was odd and she wanted to remember where she was, just in case, and she went home.
A few days later, she heard news about Amber missing. Upon seeing a news report on television, she called police. She also took police to where she had dropped off Michael and the baby.
In court, Bedo was shown a photo line up, but she could not identify Michael. She then saw Michael Lowery on a newscast DVD that was shown in court. From that DVD, she was able to positively identify Michael. Bedo says she recognized his mannerisms, voice, and posture from the interview on the news.
The state then called Andres Mendoza of San Antonio to the stand. He was identified as Michael Lowery’s fishing buddy. He was at their ranch on the 21st, a couple of days before Amber went missing. He talked to Michael Lowery via text message on the 23rd and 24th.
Police contacted Mendoza to get more information on Michael. He was concerned because he provided Lowery with marijuana and steroids. The DA agreed not to prosecute on drug charges in order for Mendoza to talk openly as he testifies.
Mendoza reveals that Michael had been driving to the Gulf for work and called Mendoza. Michael told him he wanted to turn around and go back home because of an argument he had with Amber. Later Michael calls Mendoza, breathing heavy, to tell him he turned around. Mendoza said don’t hit her. Michael replied saying “it’s too late.”
Michael never told Mendoza that he had done anything to Amber. Just that they argued and she had left. Mendoza later learned about the investigation, but he did not come forward. Police contacted him after finding his number on Michael’s phone records.
The State also called Kenley Guthrie, Mendoza’s fiancé. She only saw Michael and Amber together once and did not see anything unusual between them. She was with Mendoza when he was talking to Lowery on the phone when Mendoza was told him not to turn around. She described the conversation as uncomfortable.
From there, the State called Ken Mulkey, who is an investigator with Comanche County SO. He responded to the check welfare call at the Lowery ranch with another investigator.
Michael told him that Amber left the house angry and spun her tires on her vehicle when she left. Mulkey never saw evidence of spinning tires in the driveway.
Mulkey also asked to look at Michael’s phone to read the text messages Amber was sending to him. He took pictures of text messages from Amber to Michael. The text messages were read in court and they revealed that Amber was seeking legal council in order to file for a divorce.
After shooting pictures of the text, he and another investigator drove around the property, but did not find anything. Over the next couple of days, Amber’s vehicle was discovered at the laundry mat.
Trial Day 1
It’s day one in the murder trial of Amber Lowery and new information has been shared through witness testimonies.
The prosecution released information regarding the discovery of Amber’s remains and how they were identified. A burn pile was found on the Lowery’s ranch outside of Comanche. Inside the burn pile were human remains of ribs, pieces of leg and other bones.
Due to the condition of the remains, Forensics had to take DNA samples from Amber’s son and brother to confirm that they were hers.
Amber’s vehicle was believed to first be spotted after her disappearance at a laundromat. Through a witness, we learned it was actually seen days before that. The witness say he spotted her truck on his oil lease property on the morning that she went missing.
Family members that took the stand confirm that Amber was scared and fearful for her life in the time leading up to her disappearance. They also say that she was planning on leaving Michael.
Through text messages between Amber and Michael, Amber tells her husband that she is meeting with a divorce lawyer on July 25th. That was just days away before she went missing.
Lawyers in Comanche are beginning a murder trial Monday.
The lawyers are selecting a jury to hear the case against Michael Lowery. He’s charged in connection with the slaying of his wife Amber Christensen Lowery.
Family members reported that Amber was last seen in July of last year.
Michael told investigators that his wife left and he found her spot utility vehicle parked at a laundromat in Rising Star.
Investigators obtained a search warrant to search their ranch just across the Eastland County line in Comanche County.
They arrested Michael after they found Amber’s remains.
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